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SC- Sex offender dies, boy injured in crash after police chase

9-6-2006 South Carolina:

CHARLESTON, S.C. | A New York man who intentionally drove a sport utility vehicle into an 18-wheeler had been convicted of one sex charge, faced six other counts and may have passed himself off as a teen to keep the friendship of a 14-year-old boy who was injured in the crash, authorities said Friday. Adam Mauro, 27, of Pelham, N.Y., died Thursday along Interstate 95 in Colleton County after leading deputies on a chase at speeds of more than 110 mph. The SUV he was driving crossed the median and hit the tractor-trailer. "We believe this was intentional," said sheriff's Deputy Ted Stanfield, who said that after a six-mile pursuit in the southbound lane, the driver signaled before crossing the median.

"During the chase, most of the median had trees," Stanfield said. "You could see the gap where the trees ended and he actually put his left turn signal on and you could see him inching toward the left." The Lexus traveled 500 yards the wrong way in a northbound lane before it smashed into the semi-truck. The driver of the rig was not injured, but the 14-year-old in the SUV was ejected. The boy, whose name was not released, was in serious condition in a local hospital Friday. The youth had been reported missing Wednesday from the home he shares with his father in Stamford, Conn. Capt. Richard Conklin of the Stamford detective bureau said authorities were investigating where Mauro met the boy and how he may have coaxed him into the car.

"It seems like he (Mauro) knew the father and the son, and we're investigating some claims he passed himself off as a 17-year-old to the father and that he had been palling around with the 14-year-old," Conklin said. South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Paul Brouthers said the boy may have been a victim of Mauro, a former teacher's aide. Mauro was arrested in Pelham in August 2000 and charged with possession of child pornography after authorities found an explicit movie on his computer. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor obscenity charge and was given three years probation, authorities said. Mauro was charged in 2004 with violating an order of protection issued against him by driving past the house of an underage boy he was accused of molesting.

He was facing three counts of child endangerment and three counts of sexual abuse in two cases that were brought in Pelham and transferred to Mount Vernon, N.Y., a court official said Friday. A call to the Mauro home in Pelham was not immediately returned. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Timothy Marcam, 48, of Tony, Wis., swerved to avoid the oncoming car but the SUV plowed under the driver's side door. The 2004 Lexus was reported stolen from Mauro's father's home in Pelham, authorities said.

Stanfield said the Lexus was driving erratically and a deputy, thinking it was a drunken driver, signaled the car to stop. At first, the driver braked but then accelerated, Stanfield said. Traffic on the interstate was light, and the vehicle passed about 10 cars as it fled southbound from the deputy. Once it crossed the median, the Lexus drove south in the northbound passing lane before slamming into the semi. "It did not look like he tried to evade it at all," Stanfield said. ..more.. : by BRUCE SMITH, Associated Press

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